Home Posts tagged "Weight Loss" (Page 3)

Intermittent Fasting: New Diet Solution or Passing Fad?

This guest blog comes from Brian St. Pierre, a Cressey Performance staff member who specializes in nutrition. Keep an eye out for more great things from Brian; he's got a lot of excellent ideas and is very well-read. Intermittent Fasting (IF) seems to be newest dietary fad. IF followers will choose a day or two each week, and on those days, they simply won’t eat for 24 hours. It seems simple, and a lot of people like the idea of giving your body and digestive system a break. It also stands to reason that eating this way will help you eat less calories and make it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. Seems logical, right? Since IF usually leads to decreased calorie consumption it is often compared to Caloric Restriction (CR). CR has been shown in a plethora of animal studies to lead to significant improvements in many markers of health and an increase in life span. Extrapolating that data, it would seem that if humans cut their calorie intake by 30-40% we would lead longer, healthier lives. Here arises the problem. In the animal studies with rats, researches observed signs of depression and irritability. With primates, it was even worse (researchers quantified the amount of monkey poo thrown for statistical analyses...okay, not really, but it's an amusing concept for future reference). If they did not consume enough cholesterol, they became violent. So, angry monkeys aside, if you are willing to be cold, irritable, and prone to depression and flashes of violence, then caloric restriction is for you! This is supposedly where IF comes in. More animal studies have shown that when animals were forced to fast every other day, but consume all they wanted on the off days, they were able to maintain their body weight, while also sustaining all the life prolonging benefits of CR. They had better glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and blood pressure to name a few. It was the best of both worlds! After these initial animal studies, human researches jumped on the IF bandwagon. People were expecting big things. Unfortunately, they were very disappointed with the results. Research started showing that people following IF, or even purposefully skipping a few meals per day were developing insulin resistance, decreased glucose tolerance, and increased blood pressure. These problems were not tremendous problems and some might argue that in real world IF, where people don’t fast every other day (only once or twice a week), the studied health problems wouldn’t occur. Even if this is so, there is another problem with which we have to contend. The largest problem is a decrease in thermogenesis. Essentially saying that these people, even though they purposefully consumed as many total calories on IF as the control group, had drastically suppressed their metabolisms. This is why so many people have found such little real world fat loss from IF. In most real world applications - especially because people were eating diets in a significant caloric deficit - the body downregulated its thermogenesis to such an immense degree as to not allow for almost any weight loss. This to me is the final blow. So, I guess if fasting is your thing, and it's not causing you any negative health effects, then have it. As for me, I prefer to stick to my low carb diet, eat whenever I feel like it, and receive all the benefits that IF proposes to give - except mine are real, not imaginary or hypothetical. Note from EC: You can find a rebuttal to this post HERE.
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Random Friday Thoughts: 10/3/08

1. I took Thursday off from blogging. I typically do HIB (high-intensity-blogging), so sometimes it wipes out my CNS and I need 48 hours between blogging sessions. While the "blog deload" was not featured in my Art of the Deload e-book, it is an important consideration in any blogging athlete's program. 2. Truth be told, things were really hectic in the life of EC with the introduction of the new e-book. Additionally, it was an overall busy day at Cressey Performance. For those of you who aren't familiar with CP, it's the facility I co-founded to fulfill my lifelong dream of having my name on a t-shirt. 3. I just confirmed that I'll be presenting at the Major League Strength Coaches Performance Clinic in West Islip, NY on November 8-9. If you train or rehabilitation baseball players, you definitely need to check this event out. For more information, CLICK HERE. 4. The good thing about being busy is that I don't actually have time to contemplate how hopelessly mind-numbing PETA's actions are at times. Seriously, they actually wrote Ben & Jerry's a letter insisting that they switch to breast milk for their ice cream. Once they get some confidence, I'm pretty sure they'll make a pitch to have cookies 'n cream and Reese's Pieces surgically inserted into the providing mothers' fun-bags. I haven't had ice cream since high school, and while I do crave it at times, the thought of munching on frozen ta-ta juice just doesn't make me want to revert to my old ways. 5. My grandparents celebrated the 60th anniversary of their engagement on Wednesday. Unlike putting breast milk in ice cream, this is an awesome accomplishment, folks. Talk about the two ends of the human emotion continuum... 6. In the quote of the week, Danny (CP client on Warp Speed Fat Loss) checks in with: "I find myself watching Bear Grylls - the guy on 'Man vs. Wild' - and instead of merely being fascinated with his ability to stomach eating a raw sheep's heart that he just cut out (or skunk loins he seared) - I am kind of wondering how it tastes and how it would fit into my meal plan. This is ridiculous." Incidentally, if you ask me, they both sound tastier than breast milk ice cream. 7. Check out this great post from Tony Gentilcore on the women of Cressey Performance. Tony will continue to live vicariously through each of them until he gets his first 135-pound bench. 8. Mike Robertson is in town this weekend to do some scheming, lift some heavy stuff, and check out a seminar up in Andover with me. 9. I have some video clips to upload, but I've got a bunch of stuff to do, you'll just have to settle for the greatest sportscaster of all time. BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!
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FFL Week 4: An Admirable Effort from the Free Agent All-Stars

I pretty much wrote off Week 4 intentionally during my fantasy football draft, as I had four starters on bye weeks (three from Indianapolis, and one from Seattle). I figured that anything I could salvage this week - even if it was just a good point total for potential tie-breakers down the road - would be a good result. I wound up losing 101-98; it wasn't even decided until Monday night. Props to Danny for putting up his best showing of the year in spite of being on a severe caloric deficit that's given rise to such gems as: "This diet is making me sharper, angrier, cockier. Driving into work at 6am this morning, I was shoveling 8oz. of grass fed ground sirloin and broccoli with parmesan into my piehole while gargling SPIKE." and "I am annoyed and grumpy as as hungry grizzly bear that has been waiting at the foot of the riverbed for the salmon to spawn." Nonetheless, he put up triple digits for the first time this year. I picked up Steve Slaton as a free agent last week to fill in for Joseph Addai, and he scored me 17 points. As usual, though, I didn't get jack from my tight end; Heath Miller has apparently been collaborating with every other TE I've started this year on a plot to put me through years of therapy. He had a whopping eight yards receiving last night for a total of zero points - when just 22 yards receiving more would have gotten me a tie. However, Kurt Warner is the goat of the week. With 472 yards passing and 2 TDs, you'd think he'd be the highlight of my team - but the truth is that he was the third-highest scorer because he had 87 fumbles and two inconsequential (for him, anyway) interceptions in the fourth quarter. If Warner just takes a knee, I win. Oh, and in a game where 91 points were scored, Chansi Stuckey had just two catches for 12 yards. I watched most of the game and seriously couldn't see him anywhere on the field. He didn't get a single mention from the commentators. As it turns out, he was in the locker room playing video games wearing Laveranues Coles' away jersey the entire time trying to live vicariously through Coles, who actually catches passes. But, all that said, 98 points on my bye week isn't too shabby. Good showing, fellas, and congrats, Danny. Oh, and on an interesting note, the top 3 scorers this week were the three guys on the Warpspeed Fat Loss program. Coincidence? Hmm...
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A Little Monday Update

I figured I ought to give the official check-in report on my Warp Speed Fat Loss journey, as I'm six days in (started last Tuesday). As I noted in Friday's blog, I don't really have a whole lot to lose, so I'm just playing it by ear on how I respond. Through five days, I have dropped from 194 to 187.5 pounds. I'm normally a pretty low carb guy anyway, so it really isn't as much water weight as one would normally think. I tend to lose "puff" from my face right away when I cut calories, and two people told me on Friday that I looked like I'd lost weight. They were right. Performance-wise, things aren't going badly at all. On Wednesday of last week, I benched 315 for 3x3 before heading on to a bit more "metabolic" weight-training pairings. I've been doing some low-intensity cardio (walking on the treadmill), but to be honest, I am on my feet so much at the gym that it's really not necessary, especially when you consider that I'm not looking to drop 20+ pounds. Thursday was just my 30 minutes of the where I take a medicine ball and just throw the crap out of it. It's an absolute blast; here's a little taste: When I was done, I did two rounds of 5x40yd sprints with jog-backs between sets. It is a little bit of a compromise between actual speed work and true metabolic conditioning. Lower-body lifting was Friday, and after doing some speed front squats at 275 for doubles, I hit up the trap bar for some higher rep work. Already with two sets of ten under my belt at 405, Pete called me out and said I could do more. He answered "14," so I went and did 14 on the next set (and another ten on the last set). It was probably a lot more amusing for him than me; my glutes, hams, and traps are all still sore. The low carbs caught up to me on Saturday. We did quite a bit of sprint work prior to our lift, and by the time I actually got around to speed benching, I was pretty gassed. I'm working at higher percentages now, and did my 225 for 6 sets of three, and while it was fast, it wasn't as fast as it should have been. Moved on to some assistance work to save the session, and made sure to get in some good post-training nutrition and hit up Sunset Cantina that night with the crew for some lime and garlic-rubbed chicken fajitas (more on that later in the week). Yesterday (Sunday), was my first extremely low carb day (i.e., less than 30g), and honestly, it wasn't so bad. I do fine with lower carbs, and was actually just doing boring computer stuff most of the day, so it wasn't an issue. All in all, so far, so good.
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Random Thursday Thoughts: 9/17/08

We are publishing this on Thursday night again, as I am going to be up early tomorrow to train, do an evaluation on a pro baseball pitcher who is in town from South Carolina, and then hit the road to get to Stamford, CT in time to speak on a roundtable at Ryan Lee’s Bootcamp. I’m looking forward to a great weekend and catching up with plenty of friends in the industry – including Mike Roussell and Alwyn Cosgrove, which leads me to… 1. For those who missed it, it isn’t too late to get the EricCressey.com subscriber-only discount on Warp Speed Fat Loss. Check out this week's newsletter for more details – or just head over to pick up a discounted copy through the following link (coupon code is embedded already): Warp Speed Fat Loss 2. Still overpriced and lame. 3. Alan Aragon had a great article published at T-Nation yesterday. Definitely check it out: A Musclehead’s Guide to Alcohol 4. Anyone who can find me a good study that shows that you can isolate the vastus medialis effectively gets a gold star. If you want to save yourself a few days of frustrating Pubmed searching, you’ll give up now, because you aren’t going to find it. 5. Someone asked what I thought the best substitute for front squats would be in the Maximum Strength program if one didn’t have access to a power rack. I’d probably go with walking dumbbell lunges – mostly because it’d be funny to see someone do clusters with lunges! For the record, that was a joke, folks; lunge clusters would be stupid. 6. Some researchers say that we all would die of heart disease eventually if we “outlasted” everything else. I, on the other hand, would likely die from the monotony and pure frustration of trying to explain to baseball players and coaches why distance running is stupid. To tack a few years onto my life, please do me a favor; if you are a baseball player or coach, you need to read these two articles – and then forward them on to everyone you know who also plays or coaches. Part 1 Part 2 7. Someone asked me the other day if I thought all problems were related to anterior pelvic tilt. While it’s a big problem in athletes, I would not attribute any of the following problems to anterior pelvic tilt: gonorrhea, shingles, global warming, diarrhea, traffic jams, or that annoying cashier at Trader Joe’s who always insists on commenting on how I’m buying a lot of eggs. I do hope that bastard’s hip flexors are tight, though; he rubs me the wrong way. Michelle would probably kill him for a stupid comment like that. 8. I’ll be introducing a new product next week. While many of you might be disappointed that it won’t be the 2009 Mike Robertson Pin-up Calendar (March is the Funky Knee Surgery Scar Month; it drives the ladies wild), I’m sure you’ll be delighted with the content. This is absolutely, positively, a must-read for all personal trainers and strength and conditioning coaches. And, I suspect that a lot of you everyday gym-goers will like the content as well. If you aren’t already signed up for my free newsletter, sign up using the opt-in feature to the top-right of your screen (Name and Email Address) and you’ll be among the first to know. Have a great weekend, folks!
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Random Thursday Thoughts: 9/11/08

1. Hopefully you all can take at least a few minutes out of your schedule to remember those who were lost in 2001 and their families. (and we’re all sending good vibes your way, Steph) 2. I'll start off with a bang; high-heels for babies and children is the single-most moronic thing I've ever seen. If a grown woman wants to absolutely destroy her lower extremities by wearing heels, that's her choice. However, putting a baby in a pair of high heels as she's learning to walk is certifiable. Be careful watching the interview with these people, folks; you will actually get dumber. Oh, and Britta Bacon? That’s seriously your name? Are you a water filter or a pork product? 3. I finally got around to checking out Alwyn Cosgrove and Mike Roussell’s Warpspeed Fat Loss e-book. This thing is fantastic; I’m annoyed with myself for waiting this long to open it up after they sent it my way a while ago. I’ll actually be doing an interview with Mike on this very topic next week in my newsletter, so stay tuned – or check out Warpspeed Fat Loss yourself in the meantime. 4. Maybe if we didn’t give out drugs so easily, they wouldn’t be contaminating our drinking water. I never heard of teaching people to eat right and exercise leading to pollution... 5. Great quote from an email exchange I had with pitching specialist Ron Wolforth the other day: “I have truly been blessed in having peers who are truly cutting edge and who are more interested in getting it right than being thought of as right.” 6. Speaking of Ron, I just confirmed this past week that I’ll be presenting two one-hour lectures and a hands-on portion at his Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp in Houston on December 12-14. If you’re a baseball coach or you train baseball guys, definitely check this event out; there is going to be a lot of great information and thinking outside the box. 7. Just a quick heads-up: if you have questions about the Maximum Strength program (or any of my products, for that matter), please post them HERE instead of emailing me. I figured a comprehensive thread over at T-Nation would be a good way to get everything in one place. And, for those of you who have purchased Maximum Strength, don't forget to check out the online FAQ page to which we allude in the book. Have a good weekend! I'll be dominating Pete in Fantasy Football this Sunday/Monday.
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Random Friday Thoughts: 7/25/08

It's that day of the week again, folks. Here we go... 1. Last night, Dan Toledano hit a 405 bench - his first 400+ pound bench. Congratulations, Dan. If you keep this up, you might actually get around to kicking that Star Trek fetish and meeting a girl who has all her teeth and is interested in your for more than just your Jedi Gym training background: 2. Speaking of bench presses, I got a question the other day about whether I thought that wrist wraps interfere with forearm hypertrophy. I doubt it, if you'd just using them to bench and possibly squat. For me, the benefit completely outweighs the cost, as the diameter of my wrists is right about six inches (that's small, folks). So, for me, the wraps allow me to stay healthy for the long haul - even they don't offer too much in terms of poundage increases. You can find some great wrist wraps at APT. 3. If you want to laugh like crazy - and don't mind the occasional rattling off of obscenities, here's a great blog from Cressey Performance client, Michelle Elwell. I could just post a hyperlink, but I'm not going to lie: the title is worth typing out: http://www.michellethinksyoureanasshole.blogspot.com Michelle is awesome - definitely one of our favorite clients. Yes, it's because we're afraid to not like her, but that's not the point. Read, laugh, and if you're one of the a**holes to which she's referring, clean up your act, a**hole. 4. There is some awesome feedback on some tremendous results from a Maximum Strength follower HERE. You can pick up a copy through my website. 5. Here is a great read about how saturated fat isn’t all that bad – and how low-carb diets outperform low-fat diets (again!). 6. Great quote from Mike Boyle: “Soft tissue work, whether for chronic muscle strains or for tendon issues, is like weight training. Treatment is actually a stimulus. In effect, what the therapist is doing is irritating the tissue to produce a chemical response. The chemicals produced are what begin the healing process. This why soft tissue work is often painful and can leave you feeling similar to a workout the next day. According to Dr. [Donnie] Strack, soft tissue mobilization (think massage) stimulates the formation of fibroblasts, which help take immature, and randomly aligned Type 3 collagen (found in tendinosis) and changes it back to a stronger, more parallel mature Type 1 collagen. In other words, massage changes the quality of the muscle fibers.” For those of you who don’t know, Mike Boyle heads up what is definitely one of the best information sources on the ‘net for those interested in strength and conditioning and fitness. They have a 14-day trial offer in place for just $1 – so I’d definitely recommend checking out StrengthCoach.com. You really don't have anything to lose. 7. I got my act together and organized all my baseball content in one place. You can check it out HERE. 8. As a surprise birthday present for my girlfriend, today, I’m taking her horseback riding*. She rode a lot when she was younger, and hasn’t been since she was a teenager. I, on the other hand, have never been on a horse, so it’s safe to assume that when I get on that critter, I’m totally screwed. I doubt that powerlifters and horses get along, so send some good vibes my way – and put in a vote for me for boyfriend of the month. *Honey, if you actually read my blog, you could stop asking me what the surprise is by now. Don’t worry, though; if I had to put up with me all the time, I probably wouldn’t read this blog, either. Have a great weekend, folks.
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Poor Research Drives Me Nuts

Here is a quote from a Venezuelan researcher in this article: "Most weight loss studies have determined that a very low carbohydrate diet is not a good method to reduce weight. It exacerbates the craving for carbohydrates and slows metabolism. As a result, after a short period of weight loss, there is a quick return to obesity." I’m sorry, but are you kidding me? Does Pubmed not exist in South America? There are dozens of studies out there verifying the incredible value of carbohydrate-restricted diets in improving body composition. And, this is a classic example of a researcher manipulating study design to achieve a desired end. Frankly, I’m amazed that a U.S. university would allow such a poor study design to even be carried out. They claim that the results show that low-fat, higher carb diets outperform low-carb, higher fat diets when both diets are low in fat and total calories. In other words, the implication is that they are calorically equal – when in fact, the higher carb group received 155 calories more per day (14.3% higher caloric intake). Over the course of the four month study, the low-carb group averaged five pounds more (28 vs. 23) in body weight reductions. At eight months, however, they had regained 18 pounds while the low-fat, higher-carb group had continued to lose weight. It must be the carbs, right? Wrong! The high-carb group was on a less severe diet calorically, so the rebound should be less. Additionally, the breakdown of their meals during the four-month intervention was different. Most notably, the higher-carb group received 610 calories at breakfast to the low-carb group’s 290 calories. The higher-carb group was also allowed almost twice as much protein (93g vs. 51g) than the low-carb group. I don’t care if it keeps you out of ketosis; protein is satisfying, has a higher thermic effect of food, and has marked benefits on So, they’ve taken two groups: Group A: low-carb (lower fiber, as a result), lower-calorie, low-protein, small breakfast, large dinner, and more severe restriction Group B: higher-carb, higher calorie, higher-protein, large breakfast, small dinner, and less severe restriction So, we have six factors that are markedly different, yet we can ascertain that one factor (high-carb vs. low-carb) is the reason that some dieters were more successful than others? Bogus research – and the worst part is that since Reuters picked it up, it’ll get more press than all of the peer-reviewed, legitimate research that only appears on Pubmed. Repeat this study with the same caloric content over the course of the day and at each meal, identical protein consumption, and a zero calorie fiber supplement, and I’ll guarantee that the lower carbohydrate group “wins” 90% of the time.
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Vitamin Water: My New Nemesis

Vitamin Water: It drives me crazy. High-school kids drink it non-stop and think the added nutrients to it outweigh the problems associated with downing those nutrients with a bunch of simple sugar. Actually, most kids don't even know that it's loaded with "crystalline fructose;" they just think it's regular water and someone just dissolved a Flintstones chewable into it and made it taste good. You know what? Even though most young athletes eat terribly, they still get plenty of vitamins, for the most part. They also get plenty of fructose - so there's certainly no need to supplement that. As Dr. John Berardi has said in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective Nutrition Programs, "Drink only non-calorie containing beverages, the best choices being water and green tea."
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Calling Out Exercise Myths

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The Pendulum Comes Back to Center: Calling Out Exercise Myths
This past weekend, I was down in Stamford, CT to participate on a roundtable at Ryan Lee’s Bootcamp (and to check out the event myself). There was a ton of business information available specific to fitness professionals, and I had a good time catching up with a lot of old friends.
However, as my mind was packed with ideas on the business front, I got a wake-up call on Sunday morning that quickly reminded me that we still need to get better at the training and nutrition side of things as well to elevate our industry as a whole.
You see, my girlfriend and I had the TV on as we were getting ready to head down to breakfast at our hotel. They had a representative from some mainstream magazine on the show to offer four quick tips for folks to improve their exercise programs. Simply put, she gave out exercise advice that was not only ineffective; it was flat-out incorrect.
This “expert” claimed that we absolutely had to eat carbohydrates upon rising to fuel early morning workouts. And, she insisted that one can’t burn fat without consuming carbs. Huh? Has she ever heard of the catecholamines, growth hormone, or cortisol? We had specific hormones that allow us to do exactly this! And, it’s pretty well documented in the research that of the three macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats), carbs are the only one that is non-essential.
She took her nutrition advice to the next level by noting that protein was not a good pre-exercise choice because it is too hard to digest. Apparently, it should only be taken post-exercise. Riiiight. Apparently, all those years of peri-workout nutrition research at the U-Texas Medical Branch were for nothing. For those who don’t feel like reading the actual study: “These results indicate that the response of net muscle protein synthesis to consumption of an EAC solution immediately before resistance exercise is greater than that when the solution is consumed after exercise…” Would you rather listen to seven PhDs, or a lady in pink spandex? It actually gets better, though! This woman encouraged the audience (who, we can assume are for the most part completely untrained and predominantly female) to put a BOSU ball in the middle of their living room floor in front of the TV. Her justification was that you simply couldn’t walk by one without wanting to get on it (for the record, I could totally walk by it with no problems, but that’s a discussion for next week). She went on to recommend squats on the ball – and that’s even in light of the fact that most of the folks who would be following this information can’t even squat on stable surfaces in good form. And, we know that most women have issue with anterior weight bearing, so encouraging further pronation with unstable terrain is not a good idea. It took me all of three seconds with Google images to dig up this photo:
Looks like a great squat to me.  If you listen really carefully, you'll hear her ACL yelling "UNCLE!"  Again, I’ll get into a lot of detail on this soon; I promise…
The idiocy continued when she encouraged people to make exercise more complex, using the examples of doing biceps curls while doing lunges. You know what? Most untrained people can’t lunge to save their life! How about teaching them to lunge first – and then teaching them to lunge with something other than a plastic three-pound weight? If I can do walking lunges with well over 100 pound dumbbells, but can’t curl more than 55 pounds in each hand, which is the limiting factor?
So, she was 0-for-4 – but it gets even better.
I returned home to about 200 emails on Sunday night, one of which was a pitch from a guy with a “shoulder stretching apparatus” to promote. In his sales attempt, he actually confused internal with external rotation. And, when he stretched the external rotators and posterior capsule by going into internal rotation, he didn’t fix the scapula. This is a sure-fire way to jack up the anterior capsule, particularly in overhead throwing athletes.
I guess, in the end, my message is that you have to be a devil’s advocate at times in any field. There are bad doctors, lawyers, cab drivers, plumbers – you name it. And, the fitness industry is certainly no exception; in fact, it’s probably the majority that you have to watch out for as being sketchy due to the lack of strict licensure and certification requirements in this field.
Hopefully, people have come to recognize this newsletter as an exception to that rule. My goal is to make it a great information source that touches on a bit of everything, but still focuses on the topics I know best. I’ve recommended some products along the way, but rest assured that it wasn’t just because it was from a friend; it was because they were actually good. Believe me, I have a pile of crap products at home that have been sent to me by all sorts of folks (friends included); these products sit in a pile and you’ll never hear about them because I simply didn’t think they were any good.
To that end, if you are contemplating a purchase and want an honest perspective, drop us an email and ask for a review. If it’s something I’ve read/viewed and didn’t like, I’ll tell you. Or, I might even pick up a copy and check it out myself. I like to keep this newsletter positive, so I won’t rip on any products – but you’ll definitely hear about the best stuff I see.
Along those same lines, don’t hesitate to let us know if there are particular topics you’d like covered in newsletters, audio interviews, blogs, or articles.
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